www.tidewaterreview.com/sports/college/la-sp-simers-20121016,0,5734858.column

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T.J. Simers

Hooray! USC won! Now is that so hard to say?

After getting a headline that made no sense to the columnist, and a story that was a disappointing tale about what the winners didn't accomplish, he has a few suggestions.

T.J. Simers

1:54 AM EDT, October 16, 2012

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I just don't get some sportswriters.

What do they want?

I pick up Sunday morning's newspaper expecting to read about our guys' hard-fought victory, only to find a disappointing tale about what the winners didn't accomplish.

Where's the gushing? Where's the credit given to our local college football team while recognizing the young men's efforts to almost cover the point spread?

I know there's no cheering allowed in the press box, but isn't The Times the hometown newspaper?

OK, so I know reporters don't write the headlines atop their stories, but don't the headline writers understand their roles as feel-good barkers when a team wins?

Take the headline in Sunday's sports section: "The Plod Thickens."

The what? Am I just stupid? Is that how I'm supposed to start my day, reading the newspaper and thinking I'm stupid because I don't get what someone is trying to tell me?

Below that there was this: "Kiffin votes conservative ticket, as a passing game that is effective early against Huskies disappears."

Does that mean USC lost?

Is it really necessary to bring Romney into this?

At this point I'm worried it might keep folks from turning to Page 2 and a helpful review of the movie, "The Master."

A newspaper doesn't always get credit for the public service it provides, but then it's just a thankless job, I guess.

But as a reader, I still don't know whether USC won. So I go online because that's where we're all headed anyway and notice a different headline atop the USC story:

"USC passes up a chance for a big win at Washington."

Does that mean USC lost?

Now I understand what Lane Kiffin was saying last week when he said headline writers and little green men are out to get him.

"You read the headlines and you can't tell if we won," he said.

I say, what's wrong with a simple "Hooray!" in bold type in the hometown paper?

I've now got the USC story, which begins with Matt Barkley and reads like a "Criminal Minds" script.

"As if swallowed up by the gray chill, he was gone."

That's just horrible. I can only imagine how upset Barkley's friends and family must be. I hope they find him.

Odd that it wasn't mentioned in the headline, but as I continue I can see now the Trojans won while the search for Barkley continues.

Without Barkley, USC apparently didn't score enough for the writer's liking. How's that for gall? What's the writer thinking, that USC is playing the game just for him?

He didn't even pay to get in, and we're supposed to care whether he's entertained? I'm surprised he didn't write he was bored.

What's wrong with just telling us what happened? Why must a columnist always give us his opinions? Do you think that's what Jim Murray did?

Who? He was a columnist back in the day when they only wrote good things about the local teams.

Now we've only got these negative guys. Wouldn't it be nice if a columnist apologized for berating the local team? How tough is it to just say, "I'm sorry?"

Must the fans sound like broken records, emailing to say the same thing over and over as if their favorite team is all they have in life? They'll do it too, but I'm sure it bothers them to sound so trite.

Since when is a win not a win?

"But the bigger story is how, and why, the quarterback disappeared," reads The Times' story on USC.

I would think the bigger story is always the same every week: Did they win or lose? Hooray or bummer?

"The strategy could have easily led to their defeat," said the USC story, and why do sportswriters think themselves clairvoyant?

I'm a reader just like you, and obviously the coach knows what he's doing or his team wouldn't win. That's why these people are held in such high esteem — certainly more than any writer, unless the writer is on TV.

By now everyone should know the purpose of a postgame news conference. It is to allow the coach to state the obvious and give credit to his players for overcoming adversity, or giving 110%. Anything else is just disrespectful, given the seriousness of these games.

How hard is it to just write down what the coach has to say? In most cases a writer can do that before the coach even speaks.

There's just no reason to do anything but applaud victory and feed people the slobber they want.

I know that's something I always keep in the back of my mind when writing.

::

Every time I hear Jim Nantz telling me about some golfer's "courage," I cringe.

But here we have this joker who jumped the heavens, a little tough to make it sound now as if it's something extraordinary when an announcer says, "They're going for it all here."

Felix Baumgartner went for it all when he stepped out of a balloon 128,100 feet above Earth. And I presume while doing so he said, "One small step for man, one giant leap for a commercial."

According to one report: "Today was a big day for science," said broadcaster Robert Hager, because the Red Bull Stratos team collected new data that can help the safety of future space travelers.

How much more data does anyone need to keep space travelers safe than not drinking this stuff that makes people do stupid things?

t.j.simers@latimes.com